Turn your iPhone into a car phone for USD12 (12 dollars)

Updated: July 4, 2009

If you happen to own an iPhone, you can easily turn it into a car phone for as little as twelve US dollars (or equivalent), and probably even less. This article will show you how.


Let's say you have an older car with an analog sound system - in other words, no digital sockets (FireWire, USB or anything of the sort). This sound system also happens to be built-in, so you don't have much freedom of choice. On the other hand, you have the iPhone, which is as digital as it gets. Sounds like a bad start? Not at all.

Here's what it looks like:

Car stereo

We have a built-in tape stereo. To overcome the inherent difficulty in listening to music in the car, we use the simple Analog-to-Digital (A2D) tape converter, with a standard 1/4" connector. But this one is not suitable for iPhone.

Step 1: Buy 3.5mm stereo headphone minijack adapter

This is the 12-dollar price tag I mentioned earlier. iPhone has the 3.5mm connection socket, so we need an adapter to be able to hook our ugly tape converter line into iPhone.


Step 2: Plug it into your iPhone

Here you go, thusly:

Connected 1

Connected 2

Connected 3

That's it, job done! Now, you can comfortably listen to incoming conversations over the car speakers, with good sound quality and high volume, without having to hold the gadget too close to your ears, which usually results in ridiculous acrobatics on behalf of drivers, a familiar scene whenever hand-held devices are involved.

To make things ever better, iPhone's built-in mic is powerful enough to let the other side hear you well, again without having to hold the device too close to your mouth.


There you go, a simple recipe to success! Cheap, softly elegant and useful. In the next iPhone article, I'll show you how you can use the 1st generation iPhones with external GPS modules, effectively creating a 2nd generation device (3G). I may also use the device to show you how to sync your data, music and video with popular Linux distributions, like PCLinuxOS or Wolvix, which have begun to offer Apple-friendly tools for this task, as awareness and demand for these kinds of needs rapidly continues to grow.

All this assuming my brother and his iPhone cooperate ...

Have fun!